Opening an online store may seem like an easy way to get some new income. However, it’s not that simple. You need to choose your niche, learn some business basics, hire a team (or at least an assistant), select products, create a website, and take care of the marketing. And that’s just the beginning.
However, don’t start worrying just yet – we’ve got your back. In this article, you’ll find several tips that’ll help you get your store up and running.
Find Your Niche
The first step towards creating an online store is to choose a niche. This means that you need to find a specific sector of activity that will appeal to a specific kind of person who leads a specific kind of lifestyle – a bit like genres are in music or film
Your niche should be in something you are passionate about or at least are interested in discovering. You can start broad and narrow it down as you go. For example, if you are interested in the outdoors, that is a good starting point. Then you will need to narrow it down to something more and more specific – fishing or camping or mountain climbing, for example.
The advantage of a niche is that in the vast majority of cases they have a community of enthusiasts built around them. If your niche is in yoga and pilates, for example, you are sure to find groups dedicated to this activity online and on social media.
Niches also have auxiliary products or activities associated with them. In the case of yoga, that niche is often tangentially related to health and wellness or meditation and peace of mind. And there are clothes and equipment associated with the activity.
Finding a niche is also about understanding the communities the niche attracts and about discovering the auxiliary products and services associated with that niche. Most likely, you will end up venturing out or even specializing in one or more of those auxiliary products of your chosen niche.
Learn the Basics
Now that you have chosen a niche for your business, it’s time to learn some basics. Essentially, you will need to understand how the various products associated with your niche are made, what materials are used, and where they are sourced from. Understanding how your products are made and what materials are used will help you adapt to the fluctuations in the market associated with raw materials and/or where they are sourced from.
You also need to know how you will handle payment transactions, how it works in general, and what solutions are available on the market. Additionally, you will need to find the best shipping solution for your needs. For more information about shipping options for your online store, check out Packlink.
And the subjects you will need to familiarize yourself with don’t end there. Here are some other topics you should study:
- Legal issues
- Shipping costs
- Packing materials
- Return policy
- Customer service
- Fraud protection
- Intellectual property rights
- Trademark rights
Make sure that you study all of these topics and get prepared before starting your business. You don’t need to be an expert, but you do need a working idea of these concepts and their implications.
Hire an Assistant
Two heads are better than one. So, now that you understand the basics of your industry and have decided on your niche, it’s time to think about hiring someone who can help you run the business.
Choose someone who excels or has experience in a field you are weak in. If you are good at marketing, but not good in customer service, hire someone whose strength is in customer service. But above all, hire someone you feel you can trust and that you enjoy working with. After all, you will be spending a lot of time with that person or a lot of time and energy communicating with them. You don’t want that experience to be unpleasant, regardless of how qualified they may be.
Choose Your Products
You know what kind of business you want to start and you have even hired an assistant who will help you run it – this means that now it’s time to think about products that will be sold through your store. Before you start looking for vendors and getting products shipped to your warehouse, make sure that there is a demand for the products on the market.
To do this, check if there are similar products already available on the market – this way you will understand both the pros and cons of these products as well as their price range. Remember, it takes time to develop a product from scratch – so it’s better to go after something that has already found its target audience on the market.
If there aren’t any similar products available on the market at the moment, don’t worry too much about that. After all, this provides you with an opportunity to create something new and innovative and stand out from the crowd. You might even decide to create those products yourself in order to have full control over every single aspect of the production process.
Create a Website
First, you need to find a web host and register a domain name. This is an easy process that can be done in a matter of minutes. However, if you don’t have any experience with this kind of work – or if you simply don’t have time to do it – there are several services that could help you out. For example, you can choose a service like GoDaddy or Shopify that will let you register a domain name and create an online store in a matter of minutes. You can then design your own website using templates or by hiring a designer.
Make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices as they are the most common way consumers are likely to access your site.
Before adding new content to your website you should make sure that it works as intended and doesn’t contain any errors, including any spelling mistakes or empty pages.
Develop a Marketing Strategy
Marketing is an essential part of the success of any online store. If you want to promote your brand and get new customers interested in your products, then you will need to do the following:
- Analyze what your competitors are doing
- Study keywords in order to improve SEO
- Create a mailing list
- Send newsletters from time to time
- Be active on social media platforms
- Create content for guest posts on other websites
If you do all these things, then you’ll be able to attract visitors to your site from search engines, social networks, and other websites. And once people land on your site, make sure that they are engaged and will want to stay there and explore further. That means that your site needs to be visually appealing, easy to use, and it should offer something new for the user.
Opening an online store is an exciting endeavour. And although it may seem intimidating or overwhelming at first, know that thousands have succeeded at it and more and more online stores are being created every week. There are tools and platforms available to help streamline the process and make it more accessible to people just like you. But you will have to supply passion, resilience, and determination.